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2002-Jul-25: "I Think She Liked Them!"

In celebration of her Golden Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Liverpool today to officially open the city's new 32 million passenger airport terminal named in honor of John Lennon and to visit Sir Paul's art exhibit at the recently refurbished Walker Art Gallery.

Awaiting the arrival of the Qeen at the gallery, Sir Paul (dressed in a dark blue suit with a Capital of Culture badge pinned to the lapel, lavender tie, and dark blue Nike trainers) told reporters that he wasn't a bit nervous saying:

 "She's great, a lovely lady, jubilee year - rockin'."
After showing the Queen his artworks, Sir Paul said:
"I think she liked them. She said they were very colourful and I took that as a great compliment. She was interested in them.  I'm not sure it was to her taste, but she seemed very interested."
The Queen was not shown all of Sir Paul's works.  Sir Paul explained:
"I painted a picture of the Queen titled 'The Queen after her first cigarette', 'The Queen getting a joke',  and 'A Greener Queen'.  The gallery had the opportunity to include the pictures - it was up to them.  I would have been happy to have shown them to the Queen - they are very affectionate and I think she has a good sense of humour. She's a fine woman.

"They had the opportunity to have the paintings here, but they  went to another exhibition. It could have been embarrassing.  But it was done in good humour. It is very affectionate. She is such an iconic figure."

The Queen was also not shown some of Sir Paul's more risque paintings and sculptures.  Sir Paul and Heather remarked:
Sir Paul: "I don't think they are too risky - it's not hardcore. You're talking about 'Running Legs With Penis', I think."

Heather:   "I think the Queen has seen one of them before, she's had four children."

Sir Paul: "It's a piece of driftwood, so don't blame me, blame nature."

Sir Paul also spoke of starring in last month's concert at Buckingham Palace:
"A lot of people thought the jubilee would be a flat pancake and said, 'Do you really want to appear?'. They thought it could be a flop. But it was a great honour to put on the show and it turned out to be a great success."
At the end of her visit to the gallery, Sir Paul presented the Queen with a catalogue of his art exhibition:
"I gave it to her just in case she had a quiet moment, sitting around in the Palace, to put her feet up."
After the visit to the Walker Gallery,  the Queen and Prince Philip took a Royal walkabout through the Liverpool City Centre where an estimated 30,000 people were gathered.  They then joined Yoko Ono on the balcony at the Liverpool town hall to watch a jubilee parade.  Sir Paul and Heather were expected to join the royal party as balcony guests.  Their names were listed on the official program.  However, at the last minute, Sir Paul and Heather were seen in their Jaguar driving south. Later,  Sir Paul explained that he had a pressing recording session in London.  Further, he said that he did not wish to upstage the Queen on her big day.  However, most reports speculate that Sir Paul did not wish to encounter Yoko on the balcony.

Before her arrival at the Walker Gallery, the Queen met briefly with Yoko Ono at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport.  Dressed in a white suit with dark sunglasses and diamond earrings, Yoko greeted the Queen standing beside a life-sized bronze statue of  John Lennon.  Also present was the statue's sculptor, Tom Murphy who described the meeting:

"I said 'You must have met John Lennon a few times' and she said 'Yes I did'. I said 'He must have been great fun' and she agreed and said he was. She seemed to like the statue. She said it was very nice."
Yoko added:
 "It is such an honour to meet the Queen.   John would have been very proud and honoured.  It was a beautiful and exciting day - it was quite amazing. She's a very sweet person.

"It's such an honour for the airport to be named after John - it's a very long and lasting tribute and I hope the world will visit Liverpool through the airport."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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